Australia — A pilot who died fighting bushfires on the NSW south coast near Ulladulla has been honoured with a posthumous commendation.
Waterbomber pilot David Black, 43, died when his Dromader aircraft crashed in the Budawang National Park, about 40km west of the town on October 24.
Mr Black’s family on Friday was presented with the NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner’s Commendation for Service.
“While David was not a member of the NSW RFS, he was a part of the NSW RFS family,” Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said in a statement.
“David will forever be remembered by the NSW Rural Fire Service not only as a successful businessman and an accomplished pilot, but also as a well respected member of the fire fighting community who lost his life while serving and protecting others.
“His professionalism and courage will never be forgotten.”
It came as the state of emergency declared on October 20 during the fires was officially revoked on Friday.
Mr Fitzsimmons thanked the community for its cooperation during the emergency period.
More than 200 homes across the state were destroyed in the fires resulting in $156 million worth of insurance claims for damages to homes and businesses.
The Insurance Council estimates assessors have visited 95 per cent of the properties where claims have been made.
Insurance companies are paying out more than $2 million a day for repairs.
National parks staff on Wednesday started reopening tracks, trails and lookouts as the bushfire-ravaged Blue Mountains community starts recovering
Lookouts at Katoomba, Leura and Wentworth Falls are now open, as well as unscathed tracks in the Blue Mountains and Kanangra-Boyd National Parks.